Sunday, July 23, 2017

i just came off a busy travel week. first we were at our cabin for 3 days,
where we celebrated our oldest's birthday, floated the river and played
competitive games till the wee hours of the morning.
then i was home for a day before heading to
northfield mn. to spend time with two of my best friends.

if you read my blog, you've heard me say before how much i love northfield.
it's kind of norman rockwell-ish.
any town built on a river is usually very picturesque.
there are two colleges in northfield and there are just amazing
homes. one of my favorite things to do, is drive around the
beautiful old neighborhoods and admire the stately homes and landscaped yards.
they are beautiful in the summer-lush and colorful and if you
get a chance to see them in the winter you're in for a treat.
lots of big porches covered in fresh greenery and twinkly lights.

anyhoo... i arrived at christa's on tues and couldn't wait to see her and
her family. she's always tweaking her house and they had installed new
floors and moved all three of her boys to a big, newly remodeled bedroom
in their lower level, so that meant there was also a brand new guest room
upstairs and she had it all ready for me!

here's a photo gallery of the 3 days of fun i had with christa and her
sister maggie. (i love those two...they make me laugh like no other).
*laughing is good. we don't laugh enough folks, so here's some advice:
find some friends who make you laugh. then spend as much
time with them as you possibly can. make it a priority.

christa's pretty front porch

christa is mom to 3 boys. they are going to a variety of camps this summer
and when i got to their house, just the youngest musketeer was home.
they all like some undivided attention from me.
(even the daddy...who showed me the best team building trick that night),
so it was perfect~
i got to hang out with "the baby" while mom went to pick up the brothers.
we talked and read books and then i got a wild hair to give him
"wild hair" to surprise them.

love a good clothes line.

benny loved his crazy hair and kept looking at his reflection in the windows...hahaha
(isn't he a cutie????)

christa had this sweet bouquet on my bedside table~

and this on my bed.
: )

i took a bunch of pictures of their house to show you because it's so interesting.
they are a musical family and have a dedicated space in the living room for
instruments and practicing. they have a keyboard, drums, ukulele, and as
you can see a bunch of guitars.

the papa bear, joe, is into carving. he's made all these hand carved wooden
spoons. not too long ago he was in the garage carving after the rest of family was in bed
and his knife slipped resulting in a trip to urgent care for stiches.
uff da.
(i didn't see any blood on the spoons.) ; )

the udels got a camper this spring and a friend cross stitched this for them.

a really, really old wind up toy on the back of the stove.

bathroom pretties

christa's mom  (my friend leslie) gave her this house. it's a vase.
christa put zinnias in it later in the day-

c. introduced me to truly.

early wednesday morning, we got the two youngest boys delivered to their respective
camps and isaac, christa and i headed out to a pick your own blueberry patch.
this was an experience i'd never had. (two new experiences in one week- blueberry
picking + tubing down a river).
it was the easiest berry picking i've ever done. if you get a chance go
do it! the bushes are about hip high and there's no thorns...there's also
about a million berries per bush, so even though it was about 90 degrees, we put on
sunscreen and picked
for about an hour and a half. we each went home with about 4 lbs.

now this is funny. when we got in the house with our precious berries we discussed
how we didn't want the kids to get to them and eat them all...and we knew we
had to hide them right? christa reached up to put her box full on top of the
fridge and dropped them. yep...all 5000 berries fell to the floor and rolled
across the room till some hit the fireplace on the opposite wall.

it was funny/not funny.
she yelped and may have used some colorful language and then we
proceeded to scoop them back up. (her one by one...she was feeling
protective after all our hard work, me? i got a cookie sheet and started
herding them towards her to get the job done).

she decided karma had played her a quick visit since she was trying to
hide them from her kids.

after lunch went out to the farm where c. has a crop share.
this is the 3rd year that i've had the pleasure to go with her when i was
in town. she goes once a week to get fresh vegetables and pick flowers.
the flowers were blooming so abundantly that you could pick as many as
you wanted.
*(and believe me, we wanted a lot).
unlimited flowers? why yes, yes we will fill our buckets! thanks!!

then a strange, funny thing happened out at the farm. i accidently
picked up someone else's bag, full of their share of
the weeks veggies, and put it in our car. i thought it was christa's.

it was an accident you guys! seriously- i don't even really like vegetables...
*more stuff to laugh about!
: )

this is some of the marvelous flowers we picked.

does anyone know what the long pink flowers are in the vase below? i love them.

this is gretchen. (gretchie sue to us). gretchen and christa are good friends and they both lived
and taught school in morris mn. now they have all moved to northfield and i was
so excited when christa told me that gretch had invited us over for coffee. : )
her house was just wonderful (like her) and she
treated us to handmade cheese, yummy fruit and muffins.

after all that fun, we just had time to pick up a kid or two and rush back to
the house to greet maggie and josie who'd arrived and get ready for an evening in the country
at Red Barn Farm.

this is a seasonal, really fun event that is open to the public.
the crew at RBF cook up the most delicious pizzas in a wood fired brick oven out
on their farm.  (wednesday nights in the summer)  hungry people travel there in droves
to sit on blankets, drink adult beverages (or water-whatev's), listen to
music and just soak up all that is good in the world,
on a minnesota summer night.

we got there early. by the time we left there were solid people having their picnics under
the night sky.

maggie walked will and josie over to say hi to the horses.

doesn't this make you hungry??

ben and jos stood right in the front of the entertainer and made us laugh with
their rapt attention.

yes we did bring a vase of flowers with us to red barn farm.
we're fun like that.
people bring tables, and candles, and chairs and wine and
it's just one big party out on the farm.

*me with the sisters that make my life sweeter~ (and funnier).

i brought some little tart shells and we let the kids make their own bed snacks
when we got home.

then they were promptly sent to bed and us moms had root beer floats!
~ "shhhhhhh"

ok, this is day 3. we went downtown in the morning and poked around in our 4 favorite shops before
having lunch at hogan brothers. while we were in a fun art supply store christa and i
decided to copy their front window idea, so she bought twine and some polaroid
photos and we carried on and re-created the look in her porch.

we both loved it and i think it looks like you're in a fun camper out there
                                                                    p.s. i need a porch.

i know this is getting really long. but hey i don't blog that often anymore so
don't be all impatient with me ok?  ok. thx.

the udels have summer rules at their house and i liked them enough
to show you what they require their boys to do before they can use
it's good right?

jobs done. shared screen time and carmel apple suckers.
(you can count on me to bring the junk food to any party).
: )

the last photos i wanted to share are some of the art that christa's boys have
made in school. you guys~ my kids brought home paper plates with googly
eye's glued on them.

now this? this is art.
their art teacher, (fabulous angie) has the best ideas and i am
always blown away when i see what the kids have produced!!

like this:

and this:

for a school project, will made this amazing kermit the frog puppet.
grama leslie and grandpa bob helped him with the concept but he really did
the work by himself i guess. (even sewing on the sewing machine.)
so, so great.

yep, one of the boys made this artwork~

right before i left, christa asked me if i would please help her
hang an assortment of artsy stuff on her front entry wall.
she had these things laid out and we walked around her house and
tried many other things before we settled on the combination that we
both thought was the cat's meow to welcome her guests when they walked in.

i LOVE this wall.
stinking cute and whimsical and artsy and fun.
kind of can't wait to go back to open their front door and see
this great big

it was just the best 3 day get away of the summer for me...

: )  : )  : )
thank you christa and Maggie for all the fun and laughter and
for always making me feel young when i'm with you.

xox, beth

*then i came home for a day and got back in the jeep and headed west
to stay with my sis and attend the 38th Baldwin family reunion.
more on that in my next post!

Thursday, July 6, 2017


noun. an evening party or gathering, typically in a private
home, for conversation or music.


early this spring the local community ed book came and i flipped
through it. i saw a class where you could learn to make 4 new summer
salads and i thought it looked fun. i almost signed up but then
thought to myself..."hmmm, why pay $50 bucks to go to a class when
we could do this in our own neighborhood" and an idea began.

about a month later i thought about it again. my kitchen is
galley style and big enough for only about 2 cooks though, so
i sneakily called my neighbor and friend mary and told her about my
idea to have a party where several woman were invited and we'd ask each
one to bring a salad to share. the idea hopefully included getting new
ideas for salads for our own families and having people do some final
prep at the gathering...share recipes and then take home some samples
of each others.

she loved the idea.

then i hit her up with the big loaded question:
"could we ever do it at your house? in your newly remodeled,
fabulous kitchen???"
she wasted no time saying YES...(she's nice like that). : )

so it was on!
we had fun planning for this fun evening and here are some photos from our

summer salad soire'e

you guys, i hate to cook. so what's a non-cook doing co-hosting a party that involves cooking?
well, setting a pretty table of course.
(mary loves to cook and she's a great one.)

i wanted to use all the flowers that were blooming in my garden and
ideas for the table started "cooking" in my head.

i was on pinterest and saw these moss balls. i loved the idea and
couldn't find a tutorial about how to make them but knew i could
figure it out. i went to my favorite nursery and bought a couple of plants
and the day before the party i made two. they were really very easy.
i had sheet moss on hand so i soaked some pieces in water and
then tipped the plants out of their pots and compressed the soil and
roots as much as i could into a ball. then i just set them on a
sheet of the moss and shaped it in a ball and used fern pins
(shown below) to secure the moss to the root ball.

soaking the moss

i just upended the plant in it's former pot to work on wrapping the
moss around it and pushing in the fern pins.

these are fern pins. they're available at any floral shop.

ta-da. here's the second one done. now you can perch them on top of any fun
pot or vase or footed plate etc.

"stuff" piling up to go over to Mary's~

i scavenged little vases so that each guest could have one
on their plate to bring home.

we decided to make place cards and i used a dollar store
paint set to paint a little peony on them.

*if you don't see your name here, it was because we only had room at
the table for 6 guest + the two of us...we wanted to invite
every one of our friends!

here's our table all set and ready.

we had a little card with a saying on the plates for each friend.

the last of my peony's bloomed 2 whole weeks before our party and i put them
in the fridge and said a little prayer that they'd "hold" for the party and they did!!

mary set up a couple different drink stations, one with fruited water
and the other with fun non alcoholic beverages and wine.

remember way back when i had my store? i sold these napkins and
mary (of course) bought some. how fun is it that she still had
some of that box of 100?
: )

this bouquet i made for the bathroom had sumac in it.
that's what the unusual conical berry like things are- weird but pretty.

mary and I- ready for our guests in our matching aprons. mine was from
bella pear, mary's was her moms.

two days before the party i still hadn't decided what my salad was going to be.
pinterest to the rescue!
i decided to go out on a limb (a limb made of bacon) and try something
really new for me. i've never bought spring rolls and thought it
would be fun to try BLT's on them. i don't think any of the other
girls had used them either and they are really easy, quick and fun.
all you do it wet them, add your toppings, roll up and eat!

the funsters started arriving and unpacking what they'd brought.
*hi carol and cheri!

hi mary, mary and Bridgette~

here's jill prepping her salad. hi jill!

 mad stirring~

carol, cindy and  mary

host mary and friend mary. (don't you love this kitchen?) : )

silly sally- i mean cheri, mary and mary.

here's the yummy salads all lined up and ready for us to try.

we also had a bunch of appetizers for the social hour before we ate.
i'm bummed i didn't get a picture of them. mary provided most of them
including her amazing homemade bruschetta.
mary and tim have a gorgeous oasis in their back yard. it's all
native/prairie wildflowers, and tropical plants that tim tends to all summer long.
there is a fountain and a few different seating areas (no grass at all) and we started the
party out there listening to the fountain and catching up in each
others lives. it was a perfectly perfect minnesota evening.
*i don't think a single mosquito bit anyone~ how perfect it that??

dessert. key lime pie from trader joes with violas from my garden.
you can eat them you know and i did!

what a fun way to celebrate summer with some fabulous friends.
mary and i were both tired out the next day, but like she said,
"it was the good kind of tired. the kind that comes from
doing something you love for people you care about".

now we're past the 4th of july and summer is in full swing.
we're going to the lodge this weekend and will be celebrating our oldest's
birthday. i think all or most of us plan to float down the river on Saturday-
which i haven't even experienced in the 5 years we've owned our place
up north. what's up with that???
: )

i've got a new swim suit to break in!

have a great weekend you guys,

xo beth